Posts Tagged ‘Insects’

An Additon

April 23, 2017

I was away from my books yesterday so bothered Murdo by e-mail to see whether I could be certain that this is Bombus muscorum (Moss Carder Bee), knowing the difficulty of telling it from Bombus pascuorum (Common Carder Bee) sometimes.

Like the Del Monte Man. Murdo he says “Yes”.

Like so many things this year, that is a pretty early record for Skye.

Ramasaig Bay etc.

April 17, 2017

Yesterday, I visited Ramasaig Bay. I accidentally left my camera in the car and so have limited pictures to show here. The sea cliffs had the usual suspects such as Asplenium marinum (Sea Spleenwort) and Juniperus communis subsp. nana (Dwarf Juniper) and, this being the west coast of Skye, there was Galium verum (Lady’s Bedstraw). I saw my first Green-veined White butterfly of the year and my first orchids – Orchis mascula (Early-purple Orchid), though not yet in flower.

I captured this bluebottle which may be Calliphora uralensis, the one I keep never recording on Raasay (Thanks, Murdo).

Tach 3

I can also show an image of Ramularia rubella which causes leaf spot on docks – in this case Rumex obtusifolius (Broad-leaved Dock). This picture was taken on Raasay but I also saw it at Ramasaig yesterday. It is very common – just doesn’t have many records on Skye.

Ramularia rubella LR

Ramularia rubella

Another thing that is probably quite common but under-recorded is Phytomyza ilicis (Holly Leaf Gall Fly or Holly Leaf Miner) seen here on Raasay on Ilex x altaclerensis (I. aquifolium x perado) but usually recorded on native Holly (Ilex aquifolium).

Phytomyza ilicis 1

A Christmas Visitor

December 23, 2016

An Orange Ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata) appeared in the lounge yesterday, presumably from the locally sourced Sitka Spruce Christmas tree. Athough not associated with conifers in the summer, Stephen M tells me that many ‘non-conifer’ ladybirds take to the shelter of pines, spruce and juniper in the winter.

Richard recorded this one from Raasay but only from NG54 as far as I can tell.


October 23, 2016

John has spotted tomato plants growing out of the pavement in Portree:


Tomato in Portree            Photo: J Hawell

Today I went to take a photograph of Ruppia maritima (Beaked Tasselweed) at Oskaig for a forthcoming article as I did not seem to have one. It is looking a bit brown but otherwise pretty much as it would earlier in the year:


Ruppia maritima in late October

Crossing the road a little to the south of Oskaig, and >600m from open fresh water was  this fine female Black-bellied Diving Beetle (Dytiscus semisulcatus):

Richard recorded it on Raasay “very irregularly”.

Nothofagus alpina (Rauli), is a Southern Beech and ours has done rather well at autumn colour in the garden this year:


Rauli at night

In Memoriam Richard Moore

September 29, 2016

Sadly, Richard Moore, author of “The Beetles of the Isle of Raasay in the Inner Hebrides” has passed away. He first came to Raasay in 1972 and returned pretty much every year to record the beetle fauna.

Usually coming twice a year for several weeks and staying at Arnish, he had become part of the Raasay scene and will be much missed.

Almost single-handedly he took the list of Raasay beetles, which stood at 129 in 1983, to well over 700, the longest list for any island of the Inner Hebrides.

Fungi, Bugs and a Beetle

September 19, 2016

Steve has found this choke fungus near Broadford which is probably Epichloë typhina – though this “species” probably contains more than one entity. A specimen has gone to Kew for further investigation


Epichloe typhina                     Photo: S Terry

Meanwhile in my lawn this fruiting body appears to have turned itself inside-out.


I have trapped several bugs in the garden recently including Anthocoris nemorum, the Common Flower Bug. The books say it can pierce human flesh and I can testify to that – but it does help control aphids.


Anthocoris nemorum

A duller version which is well coated in erect hairs, Anthocoris sibiricus has only been recorded once in Britain – from Scalpay in the 1930s.

From further afield John has sent me an image of Carabus nitens, a fine, Nationally Scarce ground-beetle which he found on Ben Lomond.  Within the limits of the NBN gateway this appears to be only the second Scottish record in the years 2000-2016.


Carabus nitens        Photo: J Poulter

Thanks to Stephen Moran for insect determinations.

The last tetrad with 100% land and no records

August 26, 2016

Yesterday I went to NG34E in which part of the Edinbane wind-farm is located. It was the last tetrad in VC 104 with no records ever. It now has 122.

There are still four tetrads with 20 -80% land and no records, mostly a bit of a pain to get to, plus more with <7% land, and then there are tetrads with earlier records but none since before 2000 (nine with 100% land and five with >20% land).

The wind-farm roads added quite a few species such as Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd’s-purse), Cerastium glomeratum (Sticky Mouse-ear), Spergularia rubra (Sand Spurrey) and Urtica dioica (Common Nettle). There was also a nice wet area with Comarum palustre (Marsh Cinquefoil), Menyanthes trifoliata (Bogbean) and Sparganium natans (Least Bur-reed).

However, the tetrad to the west, NG24Z was less fun: lots of Molinia tussocks and not many plant species. In 2012 I recorded 74 taxa. After several hours in it yesterday that total has risen to 97.

It was a good day for insects, however. Heather Flies everywhere – this is their time of year – and several species each of butterflies, dragonflies and moths including this one which I have yet to sort out:

Moth NG2848

Also a lizard. I doubt if I shall ever get a photo of one, they skedaddle so fast.


Mullach Ben Sca and Crò nan Caorach

August 17, 2016

South-west of Edinbane a walk through the forestry plantation takes you to Crò nan Caorach and Mullach Ben Sca, the latter at a massive 210m above sea level.

First thing this morning, I thought I was off to two tetrads with previous records for 1 and 10 taxa. Checking what the one was, I discovered it was the result of an erroneous grid reference and so I had three rather than two tetrads left with 100% land and no records. I am now back to two.

It was a pleasant day with few plant records worthy of a more specific grid reference: Alnus incana (Grey Alder – planted but spreading), Spergularia rubra (Sand Spurrey), Malva moschata (Musk-mallow – a garden throw-out presumably, but known there for nine years now) and Neottia cordata (Lesser Twayblade).

Taxa counts are now 111 and 152.

There was also this fine Red Admiral on Senecio jacobaea (Common Ragwort). Whilst I see a few every year, they are never common here.

Red Admiral

and a leaf spot fungus on Lotus corniculatus (Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil):

Lotus corniculatus leaf spot

I noticed that a tetrad near Portree which I would drive through on the way home had only a couple of records. Twenty minutes along the roadside raised this to 90.


August 4, 2016

I have just spent three days across the water in the Applecross area, helping my colleague with records for Atlas 2020. I made 1347 records of 296 taxa – and I have a rose to send off for expert determination.

I also collected fungi for Bruce Ing’s Ross-shire fungus survey – two of the 10km squares I was in are very poorly recorded for fungi.  Mostly I collected infected leaves but there were also some toadstools e.g. (Thanks to Bruce for determinations):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

and reasonable numbers of butterflies, moths and other insects:

Emerald Damselfly

Emerald Damselfly

One of the things I was particularly hoping to re-find was Cladium mariscus (Great Fen-sedge) near Cuaig.  There was a fair amount – this being a section of the smaller population:

Cladium Cuaig 2

Cladium mariscus

Loch Coruisk

July 24, 2016

On Friday I took the boat from Elgol and had six hours at Loch Coruisk. The scenery was, of course, dramatic, but the plants largely confirmed the view that mountains that are good for mountaineers are not great for botanists.  Mind you, I did no climbing and there were a few things of note such as Salix phylicifolia (Tea-leaved Willow) which is known elsewhere near burns in NG42 but not in the south end where these were.

I also spotted four plants in NG41 that had not been recorded since before 2000 and two in NG42, though one of these was a tiny sapling of Viburnum opulus (Guelder-rose) which looks unlikely to survive the winter.

Some of the pools had these features in them which I imagine, perhaps rather fancifully, are caused by erupting gas from rotting vegetation:


The only rich area was near the Coruisk Memorial Hut where there were some relatively interesting cliffs and rocks, freshwater marsh and salt marsh. Here in tetrad NG41Z I found 127 species including some I hadn’t been expecting like Galeopsis tetrahit s.s. (Common Hemp-nettle) and Odontites vernus (Red Bartsia).

There was lots of Rosa spinosissima (Burnet Rose) growing in some of the freshwater beaches of Loch Coruisk and some actually in the river at its current level.

Rosa spin in river

Rosa spinosissima in Coruisk River

Some had this gall on it, caused by the gall wasp Diplolepis spinosissimae:

Diplolepis spinosissimae galls

D. spinosissimae galls

I found this a couple of years ago at Talisker Bay but there remain very few records on the NBN Gateway.

I also spotted these leaf mines on Lonicera periclymenum (Honeysuckle). The miners are yet to be definitively identified. Later: Murdo and I have agreed it is larvae of the Dipteran fly Chromatomyia aprilina based on the long streaks of frass. See British Leafminers page.